Maxillary nerve

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Not to be confused with Axillary nerve.
Maxillary nerve
Alveolar branches of superior maxillary nerve and pterygopalatine ganglion.
Latin Nervus maxillaris
From Trigeminal nerve
To Infraorbital nerve, zygomatic nerve, posterior superior alveolar nerve, palatine nerve, nasopalatine nerve, sphenopalatine ganglion
Gray's p.889
MeSH A08.800.800.120.760.550
TA A14.2.01.037
FMA 52724
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

The maxillary nerve (CN V2) is one of the three branches or divisions of the trigeminal nerve, the fifth (V) cranial nerve. It comprises the principal functions of sensation from the maxillary, nasal cavity, sinuses, the palate and subsequently that of the mid-face,[1] and is intermediate, both in position and size, between the ophthalmic nerve and the mandibular nerve.[2] Its function is the transmission of sensory fibers from the maxillary teeth, the skin between the palpebral fissure and the mouth, and from the nasal cavity and sinuses.[3]


An illustration of the path of the maxillary nerve.

Anterior to the trigeminal ganglion, the maxillary nerve passes through the cavernous sinus and exits the skull through the foramen rotundum.

Maxillary nerve.

Thus it begins at the middle of the trigeminal ganglion as a flattened plexiform band, and, passing horizontally forward, it leaves the skull through the foramen rotundum, where it becomes more cylindrical in form, and firmer in texture.

It then crosses the pterygopalatine fossa, inclines lateralward on the back of the maxilla, and enters the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure. It traverses the infraorbital groove and canal in the floor of the orbit, and appears upon the face at the infraorbital foramen. There, it is called the infraorbital nerve, a terminal branch.

At its termination, the nerve lies beneath the quadratus labii superioris, and divides into a leash of branches that spread out upon the side of the nose, the lower eyelid, and the upper lip, joining with filaments of the facial nerve.


Its branches may be divided into four groups, depending upon where they branch off: in the cranium, in the pterygopalatine fossa, in the infraorbital canal, or on the face.

In the cranium[edit]

From the pterygopalatine fossa[edit]

In the infraorbital canal[edit]

On the face[edit]




Additional Images[edit]

See also[edit]

This article uses anatomical terminology; for an overview, see anatomical terminology.


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ Monkhouse, Stanley (2006)., page 5, Table 1.1 - "Synopsis of cranial nerves"
  2. ^ Illustrated Anatomy of the Head and Neck, Fehrenbach and Herring, Elsevier, 2012, page 180
  3. ^ Monkhouse, Stanley (2006)., page 56, Section 9.1 - Functions


  1. Monkhouse, Stanley (2006). Cranial nerves - functional anatomy. Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-61537-2. 
  • Feneis, Heinz; Dauber, Wolfgang (2007). Pocket Atlas of Human Anatomy (5th ed.). Thieme. pp. 400–401. 

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